The DiamondMax 4320 is not best contrasted with it's own predecessor, the 3400, but rather with IBM's largest ATA drive, the monster Deskstar 16GP. In such a head-to-head comparison, the 4320 performs quite admirably. Under Windows 95, a traditional Deskstar stronghold, the 4320 delivered near-identical WinMark 98 performance, within a +-1% margin. Unsurprisingly, the Maxtor drive sailed passed the Deskstar in Windows NT (Maxtor's strength) by a margin of 18% in the Business and 11% in the High-End Disk WinMarks.
Maxtor's recent drives have also excelled under ThreadMark 2.0 and the DiamondMax 4320 is no exception. The Win95 ThreadMark result of 7 MB/sec puts the drive on par with its venerable predecessor, the 2880, placing 17% higher than the Deskstar 16GP. The NT result, interestingly enough, is the highest we've ever recorded for an ATA drive, just a hair less than 10 MB/sec, blowing past the 16GP by a huge 45% margin and even besting Maxtor's own 7200rpm DiamondMax Plus by 6%!
As is the norm for most 5400rpm drives, the DiamondMax 4320 operated unobstrusively. Even after extensive use outside of a drive cooler the unit was just mildly warm to the touch. Idle noise was inaudible while seeks were just loud enough to let me know the drive was working.
Easily the top-performing 5400rpm drive yet tested at the Storage Review, the DiamondMax 4320 is a no-brainer recommendation to those of you looking for an extremely high-capacity drive at a reasonable price. It simply equals or outperforms the Deskstar 16GP in all fronts. Further, the 4320 provides slightly higher capacity using a more conventional four-disk assembly rather than the 16GP's five, which is likely better for reliability as well as performance. Since it's available in a wide range of capacities, the 4320 will slowly replace the DiamondMax 3400 and 2880 as they're phased out. Thus, one of these best-of-class units should be on your short list even if your criteria is "small and inexpensive." The 17.2GB model, however, is particularly sweet. It's drives like these that make you ask yourself "how can anyone ever fill up this much space?" Of course, such thoughts are conveniently forgotten as you toss out the "miniscule" drive 2 years later in favor of a larger model .